Industrial Activism And The Forever War
The only thing that matters is maintaining the status quo. With rainbows. Forever.
I want to talk about modern-day activism and politics and a pattern I’ve noticed while writing about the topic, particularly with what’s happened to modern-day LGBT activism.
Right now, it’s now filled with pernicious buzzwords like ‘thought leader’, ‘unpacking’, ‘diversity and inclusion’, ‘incubator’, ‘changemakers’, ‘space’, ‘bodies’, and others, nonsense words inspired by science fiction, but not the humanistic kind. The phrase ‘Incubation of changemakers to create valid spaces for black bodied thought leaders’ is a perfectly cromulent one for these people, even if it sounds like something out of Orwell or Huxley. It's not even stolen from the corporate world, because the corporate world and the ‘activist space’ to use their term, are now unified into a single, bloviating hole, all to sell you crap you probably don’t need, and to assuage your various guilts by doing so. If you bought a rainbow flag Xbox controller, you’re supporting the LGBTQ9WEQJKSGNA people in your life, didn’t you know? Never mind that homosexuals currently don't have civil rights guaranteed federally. Today, we are no longer in the era of the Poor People's Campaign or the sit-ins or mass strikes. Now, modern activists and activism is strongly reminiscent of Silicon Valley, where people believe that they’re a visionary, because inventing a new and incredibly useless juicer is going to change the world for the better.
It's another part of the aesthetic furniture, like the wooden desks and chairs with the black metal frames, or the sharp edges of the white paint work, the bareness of the fake warehouse style ceilings, and the floodlights that dominate every hip office, bar, restaurant or DMV waiting room today. Everything is shiny and cold, even though the wooden furniture is just veneer over plastic. Like those places there is no individuality or originality. There is only endless banality.
Modern ‘activism’ is essentially the new and useless juicer of politics. It’s a game of ‘Whos Line Is It Anyway’, where the politics are made up, and the only points that matter are the ones scored by blue checks on Twitter, which you can mindlessly like, nod at while you do the scroll-of-doom on your phone, and retweet to your two hundred followers, all of whom will assuredly do the same thing. You’ll never see another point of view unless it’s being ‘debunked’ or ‘demolished’ or mocked, and you’ll nod along to that as you keep on scrolling and looking at the advertisements. The goal is to make you feel like you’re doing something about all the injustice in the world, while actually achieving nothing, because the modern ‘activist ideologies’ of critical race theory, gender ideology, and identity politics in general are designed to make you very angry, give you a prescription of things you can do in your life to help that are fundamentally useless and/or counterproductive (but make someone a fair amount of money), like diversity and inclusion workshops, or buying a pronoun badge, or buying a book that tells you should let white guilt and racial fatalism run your life and your relationships with anyone a different color to you, but not actually achieve any sort of change.
And of course, the main thing: don’t think about class politics. In fact, this modern version of ‘leftist politics’, while Marxist on the surface, complete with gangs of blue ticks lining up to tell you how socialist and communist they really are, even sometimes claiming to be ‘Stalinists’ or ‘tankies’, are fundamentally anti-Marxists, because they have replaced the politics of class with the politics of identity, and those politics of identity are designed to not actually achieve any change.
Martin Luther King famously spent the latter part of the sixties campaigning to end poverty - an institution that he recognized as crossing racial boundaries. Today, the left invokes his name while advocating racially-segregated assistance for ‘BIPOC in poverty’ and gawks mockingly at dispossessed white coal miners in West Virginia who are in very similar situations to ‘BIPOC in poverty’, and then wonders why the latter ‘votes against their best interests’ and ticks the box for Donald Trump. The modern left isn’t designed for profound social change or policy prescriptions that would solve America’s poverty problem. It’s designed to get you to buy things and and provide a career path for a slice of upper-middle-class types. And to do that, it has one goal in mind: preserve the status quo at all costs.
To explain how this ‘activism’ works, which I would term ‘industrial activism’, as most of what calls itself activism these days is fundamentally a capitalist enterprise and industry, I propose an ‘industrial activism’ model to describe the modern capitalist industry of activism on the ‘left’. This model is not perfect (nothing is!), but I feel the majority of identity politics and the associated NGOs mostly fall into it. This model consists of the following:
‘Activist’ or ‘political’ organizations that promote ideology or social politics that are in fact contrary to their stated goals, but create a market for services to ‘reach’ those goals, which will never be reached as their ideology is fundamentally counter productive to their stated aims.
The most readily available examples of this are critical race theory and gender ideology. The ideology must be counter-productive in order to prolong the status quo forever, because it is the status quo that provides the market for the services these organizations provide. Hence Stonewall arguing they support homosexual individuals while arguing that homosexuality is bigotry because ‘genital preferences are discrimination’ or Robin DeAngelo (a white woman) writing that racism is effectively incurable because of ‘white fragility’, because white people are innately racist, while selling anti-racism workshops and publishing best-selling books. If the problem can never be truly fixed, you can sell endless diversity workshops to Fortune 500 companies as a ‘diversity consultant’ forever.
If homosexuals are just disgusting bigots with ‘genital preferences’ then eventually, when gender ideology falls over as the baseless nonsense it is, you can reconfigure yourself to fighting ‘genital preferences denialism’ or whatever politically correct buzzword they’ll call ‘ending homophobia’ in ten years.
Often to achieve this, previously grassroots organizations are subverted. An easy example of this ‘subversion’ is the ACLU, which has long since ceased to be the organization that defended the right of Nazis to march at Skokie and instead turned into a social justice organization advocating Democratic policy positions and book banning rather than defending civil liberties. In a world where people call for bans of ideologically inconvenient books like Abigail Shirer’s Irreversible Damage, ACLU’s Chase Strangio cheers them on.
A narrowing of acceptable debate to two ‘sides’, and these sides never interact with one another. Nuance is unacceptable. Both sides, however, desire the same ultimate outcome.
The ‘sides’ are strawmen, incapable of nuance. The right always views the left as woke bluehairs complaining about pronouns and cheering on looters, and the left always views the right as anti-science fools, unaware that ‘the truth has a liberal bias’. God forbid any nuance ever enter this equation, let alone critical thinking. The two sides aren’t real - they’re market demographics.
An example of this would be the way gender ideologues construe all opposition to their ideology as ‘right-wing Christians’ or ‘funded by right-wing Christians’ despite not a shred of evidence connecting left-wing gender critical figures to ‘right-wing Christians’ outside of a single group, the Women’s Liberation Front (which was through an organization called ‘Hands Across the Aisle’, acknowledging their many political differences). This is despite the fact that gender ideology rhetoric about ‘genital preference’ and ‘bigotry’ and ‘you don’t know if you like a dick until you try it, TERF, so how can you say you wouldn’t sleep with someone with a penis???’ is little different in substance to Christian or scientific conversion therapy.
If we want to look at a different angle, another easy example would be the smearing of anyone who questions critical race theory as a racist, or when black or LGBT people question these corporate ideologies, they are told they are being ‘gaslit’ and have ‘internalized racism/transphobia/misogyny/homophobia’ and that is why they are questioning an ideology that is fundamentally counter-productive.
This lack of interaction has turned into a situation where at least in the English-speaking world, you cannot find heterodox opinions on social issues on mainstream platforms. You can discuss economics in a spectrum of Marx to Hayek or Ayn Rand, but God forbid you start thinking that lesbians don’t have penises. This ban on heterodox opinions is enforced on figures no matter their status in society, up to and including the President. Platforms that allow heterodox opinions, such as Substack, Parler, or Gab, are marginalized by large tech companies or by industrial activism’s enforcer-activists.
A prioritization of identity politics over class politics.
Your identity is what matters, but social class is ultimately irrelevant. This is because in this new model, your very identity is a consumer choice. To a limited extent, you can now choose the demographic you ‘belong to’. Want to identify as a lesbian despite having a penis? That’s a consumer choice, and those lesbians telling you otherwise are bigots. You cannot make a consumer choice to not be working class or poor, but you can make a consumer choice to pick and choose any other identity.
Alternative facts and alternative history: Because the facts don’t matter.
Every ‘activist’ must be equipped with the same memetic information, and statistics and history are twisted in order to suit corporate ideology. This means that Marsha P. Johnson threw the first brick at Stonewall despite that being demonstrably untrue, that slavery was why the Patriots rebelled in 1776 despite that also being demonstrably untrue, or that there is a transgender murder epidemic in the USA despite that also being demonstrably untrue, lesbians can have penises despite that statement being inherently contradictory, - the list is very, very long in this case.
You can prove this wrong over and over again - for example, the ‘transgender murder epidemic’ doesn’t even stand up on the basis of LGBTQI+ organizations own figures - the murder rate works out to about 1.3 per 100,000, a third of the national murder rate. You can point out that if you adjust for poverty, many disparities between racial groups in America start to disappear. You can point out that it’s common sense that lesbians don’t have pensises, and it doesn’t matter. The belief system is drilled into it’s adherents like a cult - you may as well be telling a Scientologist that L. Ron Hubbard was a drug abusing science fiction writer and a fraud, or rush into Jonestown and tell them drinking the Kool-Aid is a bad idea. It doesn’t matter - the truth pales in the face of the social obliteration the cult threatens you with if you even, for a brief moment, think for yourself.
In fact, I sincerely believe that if a prominent blue tick type wrote a Medium blog about they were going to ‘queer the sky’ and start insisting that the sky was green, saying the sky is blue would make you as a ‘queerphobic TERF’ within the year. I am not joking, I see this as a potentially feasible occurrence rather than an amusing Titania McGrath joke.
This is done in order to justify the current status quo of industrial activism. History and facts are merely tools, able to be molded and distorted at will to fit a preconceived policy goal/attempt to sell you something. The ideology is what matters: the truth be damned. This leads to a media where there is repeating of claims by activist groups ‘on the right side of history’ as if they were fact without any investigation of a factual basis. This is particularly prominent with gender ideology - politicians at the highest level repeat the transgender murder epidemic meme even though it isn’t true. To the modern industrial activism, the only history that matters is the ‘right side’, rather than the sort of history that is actually truthful.
Don’t think for yourself. The ‘thought leaders’ have already done it for you.
The ‘cancel culture’, or the ritual cult shunning. The apostate is worse than the non-believer.
Everyone must believe the same thing - which is what large corporate activist organizations promote. Anyone questioning the party line is punished severely, often with the loss of jobs, opportunities, and access to any sort of platform where they express their heterodox opinions - all the hallmarks of ‘cancel culture’. A questioning believer needs to be punished and made to apologize for questioning the party line.
But nothing is worse to the ‘industrial activist’ than a former believer. Because industrial activism in many ways replaces religion in form and function, nothing is worse than the apostate - someone who came to the ‘light’, left it, and began criticizing it. Many of the ways that ‘apostates’ are treated, and the behavior towards them heavily resembles L. Ron Hubbard’s ‘Fair Game’ Scientology policy from 1967, which prescribed ways to deal with his cult’s ‘apostates’ or ‘Suppressive Persons’. He stated quite clearly that anyone marked ‘fair game’ for criticizing Scientology should be:
“deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.”
How is this any different that the constant barrage of firings, harassment, lawsuits, and social ostracism that occurs to the questioning believer, or one who has not internalized the full belief system of modern identity politics? How is the term ‘TERF’ any different from ‘Suppressive Person’? Hubbard also endorsed ‘disconnection’ where Scientologists who knew ‘Suppressive Persons’ were required to ‘disconnect’ from every close family if they had ever criticized Scientology. How does this differ from the modern accusations of ‘TERF by association’ or ‘alt-right by association’? You cannot even be friends or family with someone who might have questioned the identity politics cult.
Everyone is an activist, and everything is activism:
The model does not work without the politically engaged set believing they are ‘activists’. And everything they do needs to contribute to ‘activism’ - from their social media accounts to where they spend their money. Buy Progress Flag Chuck Taylors? Activism. Making sure that you don’t let heterodox facts and opinions, that while they might have a factual basis be published by your media outlet? You’re on the right side of history, ignore the haters pointing out that newspapers should be in the business of publishing facts rather than ‘being on the right side of history’.
In industrial activism, the act of consumption becomes an act of activism, and your consumption choices must be correct or they will result in punishment, a ritual depantsing and shunning reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution or leaving Scientology. Don’t you dare stray from your market demographic!
This creates what I would term the ‘enforcer-activist’. This type may swear up and down that ‘all cops are bastards’, while actively policing the beliefs of family, friends, or those snooty blue tick people on Twitter. This includes trying to get those people to disconnect from and shun non-believers or apostates, which is often achieved by crawling through friends/following lists on social media, checking Facebook likes or membership of particular groups. In the eyes of the enforcer-activist, people who do not engage in the shunning ritual are ripe for cancellation and shunning themselves, because they might have their thoughts polluted and be ‘radicalized’.
Co-operation of major technology monopolies
The ideological homogeneity is enforced and promoted by the technocratic monopolies that control the online public square. Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit are the major platforms in the English speaking world - and they enforce ideological homogeneity on social issues. You can no longer discuss homosexuality on Reddit, for example, as this is ‘hate speech’. Facebook notoriously siloed people into ideologically homogenous and extreme bubbles defined by what they would or would not consume politically. These monopolies are designed around selling you advertising, by the same corporations that have co-opted and corporatized activism.
A parasitic relationship with the state:
The most defining element of the modern NGO and activist group is the parasitic relationship with the state. Many of these organizations receive government funding and are de facto policymakers in some governments. This issue is particularly pronounced in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. These organizations are consulted in the formation of policy in these countries - a similar process occurs in the US through lobbyists. Many of these organizations would crumble without government funding, and need to justify their existence in order to continue receiving funds. Rather than provide any grassroots services to the groups they support, they essentially become ‘the voice of XYZ minority group’, even though as we all know, minority groups are not homogenous monoliths. This is very pronounced in the LGBT community these days, where those who may have a different point of view to these groups are systemically excluded by governments.
As well as being undemocratic and unelected de facto policymakers for the state through ‘consultancy services’ or some other nonsense set of words designed to conceal that unelected bodies are deciding government policy, these groups often serve as revolving doors on the left, and industrial activism’s serfs flit between employment in NGOs and by the state easily.
The worst of these parasitic relationships would be Stonewall’s incestuous relationship with the state in the United Kingdom, where it has been giving policy advice contrary to British law to government agencies, including the police. Its former CEO was recently rewarded with becoming a peer in the House of Lords.
One thing that drives this outsourcing of policy development is the professionalization of political parties. Joining a political party is no longer about a statement of belief, or engaging with the party’s ideology or goals, it is a career choice. Young college students become members hoping for paid positions and the chance to work their way up the American cursus honorum, rather than in an attempt to advance any set of coherent political goals. This is a heavy contributor to why, in particular, the Democratic Party is an ideologically vacuous coalition of identity politics focused on getting into power, rather than a coherent program for the country, Bernie Sanders excepted.
A particularly nasty byproduct, and an example of cancel culture in of itself is the behavior this sort of situation creates. Alex Morse, a young gay man and then-mayor of Holyoke, Mass. challenged Richard Neal in the congressional primary for the state’s first congressional district. Then was then a concerted smear campaign directed towards Morse, baselessly accusing him of sexual impropriety with students at the university he worked at. It turned out to be wholly untrue, and leaked messages from those directing the smear campaign, revealed that they were hoping for jobs with Richard Neal after the election.
Of course, there cannot be any industry without workers. These workers are the ‘thought leaders’ (a buzzword which is fundamentally Orwellian - you don’t need someone to ‘lead your thoughts’, or anyone else’s) the ‘leaders of the future’, ‘CEOs’, ‘activists’, etc. Mostly notably, they are uniformly either young, well connected, both, or have long been paid stooges.
The youth movement among these people, and politics in general, is worthy of discussion. This is because many of these ‘thought leaders’ are funneled through universities that are devoted to indoctrinating young people into the modern industrial activism. Any dissent is not tolerated - which has led to the campus free speech crisis across the Anglosphere. These young people that go through the pipeline end up going through training to mold them into the thought leaders of tomorrow. They are love bombed, told they are changemakers, thought leaders, and an endless parade of nonsense, feel-good buzzwords to feed their ego. I would liken it to being inducted into a cult.
These people function like serfs to a feudal landlord. They are funded by their billionaire masters, and thus, to keep themselves employed it is in their interest to do two things A) Shut down any dissent, even if it comes from within, because questioning what they’ve been taught even slightly means they are unemployable and ruined and B) Perpetuate the social conflicts forever, because as long as the status quo remains, they remained employed. This may not be a conscious act, they may truly believe they are doing the right thing, but they will always perpetuate the forever war. They have no other choice in the face of the threat of obliteration, a threat that always festers under the surface of these groups, warping the way people function and think - these people are permanently stepping on eggshells. It is psychological torture, but if you want to be someone, go somewhere, do something that’ll change the world, get invited to all of Macy’s cool parties where the operatives hang out, or live your West Wing fantasy, you must, nay, you shall, believe.
Maintaining the Outrage Machine
The second to last, and second most crucial element of industrial activism, is the outrage machine. You need to be angry. All the time. About something. Preferably an ‘enemy’ that’s acceptable - TERFs, racists, white supremacists, Trump supporters, Russian secret agents, a journalist who said boo to a ghost, etc. This effectively siloes you into your consumer demographic, and remember, everything is activism, so railing against corporate ideology’s opponents is activism. Getting someone fired? That’s activism. Being an enforcer-activist and going through your college roommates Facebook friends looking for non-believers? Activism. You’re outraged, and you did something about it by getting Paul on your town’s community Facebook group cancelled and purged because he had a ‘blue lives matter’ profile picture. Feel good about yourself! You’re changing the world. Never mind that bombing Paul’s plumbing business with 1-star reviews means he might not be able to feed his family or that his husband John might be negatively affected in his city government job. You’re a hero!
Being outraged at Paul in that Facebook group? That stops you from being outraged at your student loan. It serves to deepen divisions between groups, rather than narrow them.
The last, and most crucial element of the modern day industrial activism is the billionaire funder behind it. Notable examples of the funders of industrial activism would be Jennifer Pritzker, Pierre Omidyar, the Arcus Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates, the Ford Foundation, money laundered through The Tides Foundation, George Soros, the Koch brothers, the list is endless. The amount of money spent by these people in order to influence not only governments, but yourself, in the new industrial activism that effectively subverts the political process.
Nothing you read from these groups is organic or grassroots in any shape or form. It has been think-tanked, researched, and focus grouped to death before it even reaches your eyeballs.
I do not think this model of ‘industrial activism’ is present on the right to nearly the same degree, Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers notwithstanding. The Tea Party movement is the most notorious example of astroturfing and industrial activism in the past decade, however Trumpism, and Trump supporters are ideologically heterogenous to the point where the model cannot apply. In fact, I would argue that Trump’s election was a grassroots reaction to the conservative corporate ideology that dominated the Republican Party prior to 2016, and its complete and utter disconnection with those who voted Republican. That Trump turned out to be an incompetent boob of a President is irrelevant - the fact he was elected at all shows that voters are capable of delivering rebukes to their corporate overlords. You might not think ‘your vote’ doesn’t matter, or that the media telling you who is ‘electable’ actually means something.
It doesn’t. Trump would have to be the least ‘electable’ politician I have ever seen. We still operate on a system of one person, one vote, despite the onslaught of industrial activism attempting to convince you this isn’t the case.
But what are the consequences of this? If this model continues, is the future a diversity and inclusion consultant stamping on a human face, forever?
That may sound dramatic, but please think about it for a minute The primary outcome of this sort of activism is a maintenance of the status quo. Anyone actually trying to solve problems, or with a visionary outlook (such as believing that say, in the future, hopefully people will be judged on the content of their character, rather than their skin color), are derided as idealists, fantasists, Bernie Bros, TERFs, SWERFS, etc. This applies in a wide variety of areas - harm reduction strategies, often advocated by industrial activists are essentially defeatist legalization of (an often horrific) status quo, rather than a real attempt to get a grip on the problem.
Fundamentally, the main aim of this type of ‘activism’ - if in this co-opted, neutered state, this can be called ‘activism’, is to maintain the status quo. The Democrats do not wish to win elections on class issues, and instead will push cultural issues - cultural issues they will never do anything truly transformative to solve. That’s not the point. The point is to get you to buy things and feel like you’re changing the world.
You’re not changing the world. You’re buying something. You’re being sold something. And God help you if you question that.